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Tea Party takes Oxford

The Tea Party has gained recognition as a force in the political arena over the past several years. In 2009, the media spotlighted the organization because of its protests, rallies and general opposition to the Democratic Party. The Tea Party, however, doesn’t specifically align with the Republican party, other than in terms of similar characteristics and morals.
The Tea Party has many places with intense involvement in protest, but Tea Party Oxford is quite different from the way that the Tea Party as a whole is portrayed in the media.  
Ray Garrett, chair of Tea Party Oxford, said they sponsor many forums regarding local and state elections and topics that concern the Tea Party in order to “educate and inform.” He specifically highlighted educating and informing people because he, along with the party as a whole, wants people to make informed decisions when it comes to their government.  
Kay Cobb, a member and past chair of Tea Party Oxford, reiterated Garrett’s sentiment. She said that these events allow the community to have a town hall-like meeting, since officials are usually very open to question and answer sessions.
The Tea Party Oxford had its third annual Tax Day Rally this past April 14, where two Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, Jeff Busby and Mike Roberts, along with state senator Gray Tollison and two state representatives, Brad Mayo and Nolan Mettetal, agreed to update people on issues in their realm of government.  
Busby and Roberts gave updates on Lafayette County, mentioning that Lafayette is a “debt free county.”  Busby specifically addressed roads and road maintenance, and he hinted at increased spending for infrastructure in Lafayette.   Roberts said they were working on mental health expansion within the county and that the board of supervisors has had little contact with Baptist Memorial Hospital regarding the supposed building of a new facility.  
Gray Tollison spent cinsiderable time explaining education in Mississippi and what the Senate and House of Representatives has been doing to turn the state’s system around.   Tollison, the chairman of the Senate education committee, created an efficiency commission for all Mississippi school districts that requires reporting the districts’ status throughout the year to the governor and the legislature.
Tollison also spoke about the consolidation methods they are trying to use in order to increase school efficiency.   Tollison closed his allotted time with a powerful statement about Mississippi’s educational system. “We are reactionary to problems, but we should proactive.  And that’s the problem,” he said.